HEMPSTEAD – The numbers two and three are going to haunt the North Salem softball team until next season.
In Saturday’s Class C state regional finals, the bottom of the third inning cost the Tigers a berth in the state final four because of two errors and two runs.
Section 8’s East Rockaway defeated North Salem 3-1 at Hofstra University.
After the Tigers got one out in the bottom of the third the Rocks (14-6) loaded the bases on two hits and an error at second. Pitcher Emily Chelius drove in the first run of the game with a base hit and another scored on the second error of the inning.
“There were some poor plays on our part and opportunistic plays on their part,” North Salem coach Bob Mittlestadt said. “This is the way I’ve seen the playoffs since we’ve started. It only takes one inning, and one inning in every game I’ve seen has been the difference. That’s your third inning.”
Albany-bound senior pitcher Stasia Pennacchio took the loss to heart.
“It was costly mistakes and a missed spot on my part,” Pennacchio said. “At the end of the day, it was a base hit that scored the two runs. That was my fault. I should’ve performed better on that. I can’t control my team but I can control what I do. It was disappointing, I could’ve done better and we could’ve done better as a unit.”
Her catcher, freshman Kasey Harmon, saw it a little bit differently.
“She’s an amazing pitcher,” Harmon said. “She helps us through. She hit her spots very well. She was on.”
Pennacchio didn’t pitch badly. She allowed two earned runs on six hits and four walks while striking out 10.
Harmon drove in the Tigers’ run with a sac fly to center field that scored Haley Donovan, who led off the top of the sixth with a triple to right field.
“She’s a freshman and will be our next big star,” Mittlestadt said. “We needed more than that. We needed more of our hitters to hit and some of the kids that have been hitting just didn’t do that.”
The Tigers (11-8) had their chances to score runs. They loaded the bases with two out in the fifth but didn’t score, and in the seventh had a runner on but didn’t score.
Livia Dworaczyk finished with two hits and Charlie Reiner and Daniella Jacobsen each had a hit.